christmas feelings.

I may be well on my way to being a crazy tree person, but there is a reason behind it. I admit that I wanted a giant, impressive tree because I had people to impress. We hosted Christmas this year. In the month leading up to the holiday, several people asked what I was doing for the holidays, and that is what I told them: We are hosting Christmas. They would say, oh, that's nice, and then talk about themselves, which always disappointed me. I was bursting to talk about it, because it was pretty much all I thought about for a month or so. But then again, even if someone had given me room to talk about myself and my Christmas feelings, I would have changed the subject or made a joke. And that's why I have a blog.

So the story didn't start with Drag Bingo at all, but back in October, when Josh had a really crappy weekend. It was crappy because we had planned a trip to Washington, D.C. to see Cinematic Titanic. We had reservations in a super nice downtown hotel and we were also going to see a Romanian puppet show. But then he couldn't get off work and I scrambled to find a girlfriend who could go at the last minute. Oh yeah, and while he was sitting at home alone, missing our trip, he also found out that his dad was getting divorced.

Our holiday schedule has been to visit his dad for Christmas Eve and then his mom for Christmas morning. It is this way because a long, long time ago, that was the agreement that Josh's parents came to when they themselves divorced. His dad could have Christmas Eve, and his mom had Christmas day. That schedule was threatened, since we weren't even sure where his dad would be living come the holidays.

Well, heck. We have a house. It's got high ceilings.

It seemed like a holiday emergency. We didn't, and still don't, know anything about the divorce. But we do know that years of not seeing his sons on Christmas day has made Josh's dad very sentimental about the holidays. I imagine him doing his best to throw the most memorable Christmas Eve possible for his boys, and then watching Christmas movies alone the whole next day. So Josh and I decided that this year, we would miss Christmas breakfast at his mom's for the sake of being family for his dad.

This is my first experience with hosting a family holiday get-together. It's also my very first experience with divorce. The first one is kinda fun; the second pretty much sucks.

Honestly, I feel bad for having any feelings about it at all. They're not my parents, and it's not bringing up any painful childhood memories for me. In fact, it's highlighting what a carefree childhood I had. But I was having feelings. I was having so many feelings that they threatened to spill out all over the place anytime some poor unsuspecting soul asked what I was doing for the holidays. You have to be careful about feelings, you know. They're quite messy.

But it's safe here, so let me tell you about my feelings: I miss Susan, Josh's (ex?) step-mom, and I am confused about what my relationship is to her anymore. I want her to still be in our lives, but I don't know how that works. Obviously, we will continue to have a relationship with his dad, but will that conflict with having contact with Susan? Do we have to pick, because that's not fair. We didn't break up with Susan. Also, Josh's dad has a new girlfriend. I'm not sure if that's a wise idea, not that it's any of my business at all. I've hung out with her a few times, and I really like her. She's smart and interesting. She raises goats! Yet every time I think about how much I like her, I feel like I'm betraying Susan. And then I think that I'm much too old for these tired stereotypical child-of-divorce feelings. These are not even my parents.

I simply cannot imagine going through this when I was six. I would have had the same feelings without the ability to process them. It makes me want to go back in time and give little boy Joshua a hug, which would have been inappropriate and weird and not really a very good use of a time machine.

We made our offer to host Christmas, and it was gratefully accepted. I can't speak for Josh's dad, but I imagine that he was pretty proud of his son. I was, anyway. That's one way to measure your success as a parent - when the time comes, can your kids step up and take care of you? Hosting a holiday gathering is a pretty minor thing in terms of the many things that adult children have to do for their parents. Compared to sponge baths and picking out coffins, it's downright fun. But it is something to say, hey, Dad, you've got a lot on your plate right now, let me do this one thing for you. That's what family is for.

That's really what we wanted the holiday season to be about. It would have been easy to focus on the divorce, but we decided to make it about being family. In the years to come, we don't want to refer to it as the Christmas after Dad and Susan split. We want to call it the first Christmas in Raleigh or the Christmas that it snowed four inches. Remember 2010? It was the Christmas with two trees.

No comments: